Minimalist Homeschooling for the Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom

Mother with two daughters on the beach

Inside: Are you an overwhelmed homeschool mom? Minimalist homeschooling can give you the tools to change that.

Last year, another minimalist blogger and I chatted about the directions I could take this little blog. She brought up that many minimalist families she knew also homeschooled and were looking for direction on how to apply minimalism to homeschooling.

She suggested that I help them do just that: create a course on minimalist homeschooling – how to use the basic principles of minimalism to calm the chaos that homeschooling can be when you’re trying to do all.the.things.

I hesitated for a long time because relaxed homeschooling is my primary homeschool style, and I wasn’t sure what I could really say about minimalist homeschooling.

But after thinking about it for over a year, I realized that I do apply minimalism to my homeschool. Once you start living a minimalist lifestyle, minimalism tends to seep into every corner of your life in a good way because it’s just that beneficial (especially for moms).

There’s no course coming anytime soon, but minimalist homeschooling has SO much to offer the overwhelmed homeschool mom, I couldn’t help but share as much as I can in one blog post.

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An Honest Brave Writer Review from a Former Skeptic

brave writer reviews

Inside: Brave Writer reviews can be extremely polarized and confusing. As a new homeschool mom searching for a unique language arts curriculum, I read them and walked away bewildered, not knowing what to think. So what turned a former skeptic into a Brave Writer enthusiast? Read my honest Brave Writer review to find out. 

A few years ago, I decided to step away from the University Model school my daughter attended and brave homeschooling all on my own. As I was researching various curriculums, I focused my attention primarily on math and language arts.

All my daughter knew of language arts at that point was a phonics workbook she absolutely despised. I’m talking serious hatred: as in she would sit and stare out the window for 45 minutes instead of doing one page in that workbook.

I knew she needed something different, but what?

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Our Relaxed Homeschool: 3rd Grade and 1st Grade {2018-2019}

homeschool 3rd grade, homeschool 1st grade

Inside: Are you going to homeschool 3rd grade or 1st grade this year? Check out the third grade homeschool curriculum section of this post for our core resources, and the rest of the post for additional resources we are using for the 2018-2019 school year for both grades.

Even though I am writing a curriculum post for the 2018-2019 school year, we are technically year-round homeschoolers.

I suppose you could consider our annual standardized test – as required by the state of North Carolina – the marker for when one school year ends and another school year begins. I typically administer the test in July or August each year.

While we don’t have an official “back to homeschool” day, we are starting a new tradition: an annual “NOT back to school” day!

I’m generally not bothered by the fluid nature of our homeschool days and years, but I know that my kids might need/want more special days to mark the years by.

Going out for ice cream (something we never do), playing board games and watching movies together all seemed like fun and easy ideas for an annual back to school day. Now to pick an official date in early September!

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10 Signs Relaxed Homeschooling is Your Homeschool Style

Inside: Is relaxed homeschooling your homeschool style? Read these signs to find out – you might be surprised! 

Relaxed homeschooling is a homeschool style that gets lost in the shuffle. It’s often used interchangeably with unschooling and eclectic homeschooling and minimalist homeschooling, partly because everyone’s definition of relaxed homeschooling is a little bit different.

While I am a minimalist, and minimalism does influence my homeschooling, I’ve never felt comfortable adopting the label “minimalist homeschooler”. I always identified much more strongly as a “relaxed homeschooler”.

And all of these signs that you’re a relaxed homeschooler? I nod along in agreement with

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How to Stop Curriculum Hopping: The Secrets to Loving the Homeschool Curriculum You Already Have

how to stop changing homeschool curriculums

Inside: Do you find yourself changing homeschool curriculums every year, or even more frequently? Learn how to break the habit and to be content with the homeschool curriculum you already have. 

Over the past week I’ve jumped into a few Facebook groups for homeschool moms to ask my own homeschool curriculum questions. I couldn’t help but stay a while and look through the different threads. As a homeschool blogger, I particularly enjoy reading posts recommending new curriculums I’ve heard of, but never used personally.

As I scrolled through the comments after each curriculum recommendation, this statement kept popping up over and over again: “I switched to this homeschool curriculum…I don’t really know why though because we liked the one we were using before.”

Once? I wouldn’t have given it a second glance. But multiple occurrences of the same statement got my wheels turning.

Why are homeschool moms changing homeschool curriculums so frequently, even when nothing is wrong with what they currently have?

And an even better question: why can’t they stop?

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The Easiest Way to Add French to Your Homeschool

homeschool french program

Inside: If you want to homeschool French and need a program your children can do independently, Rosetta Stone Homeschool is the best choice. It’s perfect for busy homeschool moms!

My daughter has always loved languages. From an early age, she listened carefully whenever she overhead conversations in foreign languages and even made up her own languages in pretend play.

While she loves all languages, she eventually narrowed her focus to French. For whatever reason, she developed a love for France and has grand plans of travelling there as a family one day (as a family of soon-to-be seven, we’ll see!).

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30 Math Books for Kids: A Fun & Engaging Way to Teach Math

Inside: Math books for kids are perfect for teaching math concepts in elementary school. Children will not only understand the real-world applications of math, but they will also have a greater likelihood to develop math confidence. 

Math is the subject that most homeschool parents are scared to teach, even during the elementary years. Every other subject doesn’t seem that difficult. Well, except for grammar: I mean, how important is it really that kids know what a past present participle is?

To make matters worse, in traditional schools, the way math is taught seems to change very five years or so, at least in American schools. It seems that the leaders in American math education are constantly trying to find the magic bullet that will allow us to bridge the ever-widening gap between American students’ math scores and Asian students’ math scores.

All of these changes leave parents unsure of their ability to do even the most basic elementary math, let alone help their kids with math. The way math curriculum requires you to do math problems is no longer straight-forward or the way we were taught twenty-five years ago. I once attempted to tutor a second grader in math, and I literally had to teach myself every math lesson because the way the curriculum approached math problems was so foreign to me (yes – second grade math!).

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21 Absolutely Awesome Books for Young Boys

21 books for boys

Inside: Every month or so, I share a new book list filled with books my boys and I have read together and thoroughly enjoyed. So if you’re looking books for young boys (ages 4-8) will love, you’ve come to the right place. 

It’s about time for another installment in my “Books for Boys” series. Since we have three boys close in age (currently, 6.5, 4.5, and 2.5), I plan on providing new book lists for the next several years.

It’s a joy to share with you the best of the best so that you don’t waste your precious time on less than awesome books. Maybe not all of these will be a hit with your kiddos (girls love these books, too!), but I bet you’ll enjoy at least half of them, if not more.

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How to Homeschool Kindergarten: 6 Essentials to a Successful Year

Homeschool Kindergarten with confidence using these ideas and tips. 6 essential elements, plus answers to commonly asked questions about homeschooling kindergarten.

Inside: Everything you need to know to homeschool kindergarten successfully: the essentials and answers to commonly asked questions.

If you are wondering how to homeschool kindergarten, you are probably new to the homeschool world. Your homeschool journey will be full of questions and challenges, but the rewards are far greater, in my opinion. Welcome!

If this isn’t your first time homeschooling kindergarten, but your first experience wasn’t awesome, I hope reading these ideas and tips for homeschooling kindergarten will help you have a more satisfying year. Kindergarten is one of my favorites grades to homeschool.

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Nature Journaling for Kids: 10 Ideas to Try When They Don’t Love It

nature journals for kids, nature walks

Inside: Nature journaling for kids is a core component of the Brave Writer Lifestyle, as well as a Charlotte Mason Education. But what do you do if your kids don’t love it? Here are 10 things to try if your kids don’t love to nature journal.

My daughter’s homeschool co-op first introduced me to nature journaling. They modeled their in-the-making University Model School closely after a Charlotte Mason education, incorporating living books, copywork, narration, and nature journaling into the curriculum.

We purchased a nature journal at the beginning of the year, and my daughter drew a few beautiful drawings. The rest of the journal, however, remained empty.

When we transitioned to homeschooling on our own, I forgot about nature journaling. The few times I attempted to reinstate the practice were met with resistance. While my oldest loves all things art, the rest of my kids didn’t quite see the point of the exercise.

At the time, I was wrestling through my thoughts on unschooling versus relaxed homeschooling, forced learning versus natural learning, so I let it go. I didn’t want to force my kids to participate, and I was at a loss as to how to encourage nature journaling without pulling teeth.

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